Wole Ayodele in Jalingo
Tears and eulogies poured uncontrollably yesterday at the obsequies for the former governor of Taraba State, Danbaba Suntai. Thousands of people gathered at the Jolly Nyame Stadium in Jalingo, the state capital, and Suntai in Bali Local Government Area to witness the solemn event.
There was a moving outpouring of testimonies to his compassionate deeds as countless numbers of people who were touched by the former governorâ€™s kind gestures gave a teary account of his charity.
Dignitaries from all walks of life including the Governors Solomon Lalong (Plateau), Ayo Fayose (Ekiti) and Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe) as well as former governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam attended the funeral service held at the Jolly Nyame Stadium, Jalingo.
Other dignitaries that were on hand to pay their last respect to Suntai who died on June 28 at his residence at Orlando, Florida in the United States of America, include the first Executive Governor of Taraba, Rev. Jolly Nyame, the pioneer military Governor of Taraba, CP Ambrose Afolahan, Deputy Senate Minority Leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, Senator Isa Lau and representatives of the governors of Adamawa, Benue and Nasarawa States.
Eulogising Suntai, Governor Darius Ishaku described him as an epitome of humility with a great sense of humour and passion for the development of the state.
He expressed gratitude on behalf of the entire people of the state to all Nigerians especially those who stood by the late governor during his trying moments and in death, saying their show of love was a great source of strength to the family and the people of the state.
He particularly thanked former President Goodluck Jonathan and retired General T.Y. Danjuma for their great efforts towards ensuring that Suntai survived the plane crash he had on October 25, 2012 saying the family and the entire people of the state remain eternally grateful to them.
He however urged Suntaiâ€™s family and all his loved ones to be consoled by his legacies and good virtues stressing that his memory would remain indelible in the minds of the people of the state especially for what he believed and stood for.
Speaking earlier, Governor Fayose urged the people of Taraba to imbibe Suntaiâ€™s virtues and continue to promote the good things he stood for while alive, particularly the development of Nigeria and Taraba. Also speaking, Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo said the late governor meant and did well for the people of the state and was committed to its progress which was evident in the numerous developmental strides he made.
The officiating minister at the funeral service, The Most Rev. Musa Philibus, who took his Bible reading from Philippians Chapter 1 verse 21 enjoined Nigerians to live a life of service to humanity, bearing in mind that all must die to give account of their stewardship.
Philibus, who is the President of the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria (LCCN) said there is glory and happiness in death when we live a life that pleases God.
Suntai was finally laid to rest at 5.15 pm at his country home in Suntai after a brief ceremony which had in attendance Governor Ishaku, the state deputy governor, Haruna Manu, Senator Bwacha, Speaker of the State Assembly, Abel Peter Diah and the State PDP Chairman, Victor Bala Kona.